The credit ratings agency Moody's Investors Service has downgraded Portugal's debt to junk status.
The agency said there was a growing risk the country would need a second EU bail-out before it was ready to borrow money from financial markets again.
Here, readers in Portugal react to the downgrading of the country's debt.
Pedro Paula, Lisbon
Many Portuguese commentators are very critical of Moody's downgrading.
Portugal is not Greece.
Portugal has a new centre-right government and the prime minister did not hide from the Portuguese that the country would face very hard times.
Both the president and the PM have economic backgrounds and have decided to implement the IMF plan.
Just a few days ago the government imposed a one-off special tax in order to meet IMF requirements and no Portuguese complained.
People are aware that the situation is really bad.
To compare Portugal to Greece, however, is just not fair.
Alexandre Silva, Evora
The economic problems in Europe right now were foreseen with the dawn of the euro.
The euro was a farce to lure the weaker countries into getting even more into debt.
Now, we can actually see it happen. Kudos to the UK and the Swiss for not falling for it. I wish Portugal would get out of the euro as soon as possible.
Before Portugal joined the euro, our escudo was not so weak, and we did not have families going hungry.
Right now, we have around 20,000 families going hungry and dependent on charities and NGOs to help them get through the week.
When the EU was formed, we produced enough goods to feed the whole country.
Right now, food goes to waste because the EU assigns quotas to countries and they actually receive less support if they produce more. Does this make sense when people go hungry all over the world?
Manuel Monteiro, Lisbon
It is insulting the way the rating agencies have played havoc with European economies as a whole, and I feel that the EU EEC should react in favour of countries like Portugal, who are truly doing something constructive about their situation.
The problem is not the Portuguese, Irish or Greek economies, the problem is mainly the euro overshadowing the US dollar, which Americans do not like.
The quicker Europe has its own rating agencies the better.
The new Portuguese government is doing all it can to get the economy going and the Portuguese people and nation as a whole are moving towards constructive solutions to resolve the economic problems.
The last thing that we need is harmful and somewhat dubious downgradings, which do not account for all the facts.
I think attention should be focused more on the world's biggest debtor - the USA.
Jacob Levi, Lisbon
The austerity package agreed between the EU, the IMF and the Portuguese government has the support of the three biggest parties in Portugal and the majority of the population.
Unlike what is happening in Greece, the majority of Portuguese feel that such measures are necessary and even when the government announced a special tax on Christmas bonuses that will affect in many cases almost 50% of the bonus, there was a positive reaction from the population.
At the same time there is no property speculation bubble in Portugal and the unemployment rate, though much higher than usual, is still far from the level of Spain.
Comparing Greece with Portugal is, as such, pure speculation on Moody's part.
Emanuel Aniceto, Faro
We are in this situation because of EU rules.
But the solution is not shutting down elementary schools, or more than 800km of railway, or closing down boat factories or selling public companies.
Unemployment is up to 20%, but austerity is not the solution.
We need to produce more. We need to increase our economy.
We need economic growth.
It's incredible that the Portuguese state cannot borrow money from the European central bank directly.
This is unacceptable.